Much like Jack Ryan before him, Jack Reacher will be given a new lease on life through a forthcoming streaming series, courtesy of Amazon. What entails for this new show, based on the character created by Lee Child, is left in question, though it will need to follow in the footsteps of Tom Cruise's 2012 movie of the same name, along with its 2016 sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Therefore, fans of both the books and the blockbusters have certain expectations for what this TV series should be. Instead of following Cruise's footsteps, however, the producers/showrunners should divert their attention elsewhere. Specifically, they should study the John Wick movies when it comes to their latest re-imagining of Child's most famous character.
As Amazon is looking to provide a fresh take on the Jack Reacher property, there are a few vital lessons they could learn from John Wick when it comes to reinventing its property and giving the hit character a fresh coat of paint. Here are some things that Jack Reacher should study from John Wick!
Great Fight Choreography
Above all else, what really makes the John Wick movies so extraordinary are their exceptional action scenes. The first movie was directed by a pair of former stuntmen, and the craftsmanship that goes in the fight choreography goes a long way. So many action movies prior to John Wick didn't seem to spend a lot of time preparing good fight choreography. Man, did it show. Thankfully, John Wick came around and showed everyone how it's done, as it produced a number of high octane action sequences that were brutal and unrelenting in their execution. It was top-notch stuff; it inspired many other action directors to step up their game and produce some at least semi-decent fight scenes for their audiences.
Notably, Jack Reacher's first movie was benefitted by its old-fashioned action attitude, but the TV series should feature a few expert fight scenes to show us why this character is the real deal, and why you don't want to mess with him any day of the day. Hopefully, Jack Reacher is also inspired by all the hard work and all the great lengths that go into making these movies as hard-hitting as they are — thus producing a fitfully exhilarating streaming series that constantly provides us the goods.
One reason why John Wick works so damn well is because it knows how to play to Keanu Reeves' strengths as both an actor and action performer. It's a performance that's both cool and commanding, allowing Reeves' muted expressions to serve as the character's guarded demeanor — built from many years of playing "kill or be killed" with various mercenaries, including both foes and friends. But in the right moments, it can also be a fitfully emotional performance, perhaps more so than people give Reeves credit. And the dude knows his action. He can kick a lot of butt. Both his knowledge and his experience with martial arts training serve him well in this trilogy of action-packed movies.
Hopefully, when it comes to casting Jack Reacher, they find a star that brings the right cool edge to the part, beyond the height requirements and other elements needed to fit the character description. If they can find an actor that captures the slick edge of the character, while also getting us invested in his emotional journey in key moments, they're set.
Simple Story In The Service Of Character, Action And World Building
Another reason why 2014's John Wick became such an unexpected success is because it keeps the characters focused squarely on their story. While the sequels started to move away from this concept, adding several different plot points and worldly destinations throughout the course of the movies, one of the keys to the original John Wick's success was its straightforward simplicity. A world-class assassin quits the business to be with the woman he loves, only to tragically lose her some time later. In the process of grieving, John Wick receives an unexpected dedication of her love in the form of a cute little puppy, whom he cherishes with all Hi. heart. But when John pisses off some smarmy rich douches, these cruel dirtbags beat him up and do seemingly the unthinkable: they kill his dog. In an act of burning vengeance, John Wick guns them all down, working his way up to the mobster father.
John Wick decidedly kept the plot-at-hand simple so that the other elements, including character, action, and world building more extravagant. That's also something that Amazon's Jack Reacher should consider too — especially as it lays out its plotting. The books by Lee Child aren't remembered for their intricate plots; they're good at keeping things simple and packing a punch, and that's something that will hopefully be found in this new TV series.
Careful Attention To The Look And Feel Of The Action
Following a number of Bourne-inspired action movies that copied the shaky cam style of Paul Greengrass without the focus or high level of insanity, resulting in a fair number of visually catastrophic movies, John Wick was refreshingly slick and precise in its visual presentation. The action was like a ballet, both precise and graceful but never without feeling nor calculated to the point of losing their momentum. It was an exceptionally crafted piece of action cinema, and it helped to usher in an era of genre movies where filmmakers took extra care (or, at least, more care) to make sure they brought at least some of the goods.
Hopefully, Amazon's Jack Reacher will also follow in John Wick's influence and create an exciting, visually stunning TV show. The first Jack Reacher movie had a fine sense of style and visual flair, and it would be great to see the new TV series have that same sense of style too.
Bad-Ass Supporting Characters
Beyond the title character of John Wick, the John Wick movies pride themselves on building their assassin-friendly violent world with a number of fun, memorable supporting characters along the way. In order to keep these movies in a heightened, extreme world, there are a number of bizarre, strange, or simply over-the-top (in an enjoyable way) supporting characters that keep John Wick on his toes. So many action movies don't take as much time to build absurd characters. John Wick fills the frame with any number of memorable characters, and it produces an even more fun night at the movies in the process. Jack Reacher could easily benefit from allowing its own supporting characters to bring their own memorable ticks and quirks to the table.
The books feature a few distinctive personalities, many of whom serve as fitting villains for the characters, and they should get their time in this series.
Are you looking forward to Amazon's new Jack Reacher series? Do you love the John Wick movies? What are some other elements from the John Wick movies that the producers behind Jack Reacher should take to heart as they make this TV series? Let us know what you think in the comments below.